The Englishman was originally set to play in midfield but Anthony Martial picked up a hamstring injury in the warm-up at Carrow Road meaning Rooney had to fill in up front.
He managed to create the winner for Juan Mata after capitalising on a mistake from Sebastien Bassong, which has put United just a point behind Manchester City in fourth place.
Speaking about the change, van Gaal admitted Rooney wasn’t keen on changing his position after a good run of form in midfield since returning from injury.
“I don’t think he was very happy with me that I decided to put him in the striker’s position, but he could imagine also (why he had to play there),” Van Gaal said.
“He gave a fantastic assist to Juan Mata.”
Rooney has enjoyed a strong career at United but his new role in midfield seems to suit him at the moment in terms of where he can fit in the side. Both Marcus Rashford and Martial are ahead of him in the pecking order but by the sounds of it he’s actually happier to play in midfield instead.
To be fair, I think United are better off without Rooney up front. He was so stagnant against Norwich and offered effectively no movement off the ball at all, especially in comparison to how Rashford and Martial play in the same position.
Rooney has a lot to improve and adapt if he is to become a regular central midfielder for United and looking at how he played at Carrow Road, I’m not sure I want to see him return up front regularly any time soon.